Letters to the Editor

A reader calls for less beta coverage and more focus on current technologies, such as GDI, namespaces, and exception handling.

Letters to the Editor

Posted March 1, 2004

Letters to Visual Studio Magazine are welcome. Letters must include your name, address, and daytime phone number to be considered for publication. Letters might be edited for form, fit, and style. Please send them to Letters to the Editor, c/o Visual Studio Magazine, 2600 El Camino Real, Suite 300, San Mateo, CA 94403; fax them to 650-570-6307; or e-mail them to [email protected].

Less Whiz-Bang, More Practical Content
I've never found a reason to complain in the several years that I've been a subscriber, but that has now changed. It all started with the January 2004 issue. The complete issue was all about the next releases of both the operating system and Visual Studio .NET. It took me all of about 30 minutes to go through the entire issue. I normally spend close to the whole month to complete the issues. I like to work my way through all of the articles and try to find ways to test them and work with them to get a full understanding of the topic. I brushed off the January issue as a one-time event. Then the February 2004 issue hit my mailbox. I could tell from the front cover that I was going to be disappointed once again. With the exception of the Getting Started column on using a FileWatch object and the Database Design column, it was again all about the upcoming OS and development environment. Don't even get me started about the VSLive! advertising sections. If those pages were filled with usable content, I would renew my subscription immediately.

I understand that you want to get us prepared, but how about balancing out the content? I don't have access to either the operating system or the next version of .NET. I don't want to speak for everyone else, but I'm sure there a quite a few developers out there like myself that work in areas that don't have instant access to the beta versions to test these things out. I'm sure there are others out there who have the main bulk of their install base still on Windows 2000. In fact, I'm still in the process of porting all of our current software. I might not speak for everyone out there, but I feel there are still plenty of areas to cover in the current release.

I'm a firm believer in not complaining without at least providing some ideas, so here it goes:

  1. Balance out the ratio of new whiz-bang beta content with practical articles for the masses out here.
  2. More articles about GDI. We use a lot of it where I work, and I've had to subscribe to an online GDI magazine to get coverage on GDI. In the few months that I've been receiving it, I have utilized about 95 percent of the content. I can only recall a few articles on this topic in Visual Studio, including the one covered in the February issue, which, by the way, I really liked—it was a practical application and I'm planning on using it soon (see, I don't just complain).
  3. More coverage on the obscure namespaces in .NET such as System.Diagnostics and System.Windows.Forms, just to name a couple.
  4. Exception handling—need I say more? I don't understand why so many new programmers (not all) are not fluent in the art of trapping and handling errors. I firmly believe this is an area that could fill several issues alone.

I have only one more issue left on my subscription, and I do hope the March issue will be of more use to me in solving the problems that I have right now, not the ones I might have in a few years when the company changes over to the next operating system. You are practically the only kid on the block for pure coverage of Visual Studio, but it's sad to say I'm finding more answers in the forums than I am in your magazine. It used to be the other way around.

—Brian DeJong

What you want to see in the magazine is what we want to provide month in and month out. Our raison d'etre is to provide practical, how-to content on Visual Studio and the tools that ship with it, but especially ASP.NET, VB.NET, and C#, and this is our first goal when assigning and reviewing articles for publication.

Deviations from that mission are considered carefully, and we had some reservations about doing two forward-looking, themed issues in a row. At the same time, the information in those two issues was pertinent to our audience and some of those articles had subjects that would be less useful the longer we held them back. Providing a roadmap to the future requires that you deliver it long enough in advance that people can make use of it.

We hope the March and subsequent issues have been more to your liking.

About the Author

This story was written or compiled based on feedback from the readers of Visual Studio Magazine.

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